Thursday, 30 September 2010

Rest In Peace Tony Curtis

I was told that Tony Curtis had died yesterday while doing "current headlines" in class today. Everyone had blank looks on their faces (I found it very depressing that no one knew who he was), and I said "NOOOO!" really loud. I am very upset, and I feel very sad that one of my only favourite "still alive" classic movie stars is now no more. 
Tony Curtis 3rd June 1925 - 29th September 2010

Most people will remember him like this.
Looking gorgeous in Spartacus
But I will remember him like this.
He's the guy (dressed up as a dame) in the white fur collar
As a hilarious tenor saxophone player who dresses up as a dame to get a job, in Some Like It Hot, one of my favourite movies of all time. Needless to say, he will not only be greatly missed by fans of his acting career, as well as the admirers of his artwork, but also by his family which includes actress Jamie Lee Curtis.
Playing the saxophone whilst Jack Lemmon plays his bass with machine gun holes in. They were really chased by gangsters after being the two witnesses to the Chicago St. Valentines Day massacre 1929, but when asked by the band leader where they came from he says "Umm, i don't know... Mice?" So as not to blow their cover so that they can get as far away as possible from the gangster, Spats Columbo (George Raft).
The results from my latest poll to decide between the sisters of the silver screen (Joan Fontaine and Olivia De Havilland) and the winner is....
OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND
She won 4 votes to 2. I found it hard to choose between the two, but I do love Olivia just that little bit more.

~Bette

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Post In Honour Of Greer Garson

This is a post in honour of Greer Garson's birthday that would have been today. She would have been 106. Greer Garson is one of my favourite actresses, and I really admire her for her career. Being British myself, it makes me very impressed to see a young British woman whose education was not in acting, but French and 18th century literature at King's College London, become a huge star. She had planned to become a teacher, but started to work at a local advertising agency and to appear in local theatre productions, where she was discovered by a movie talent scout. She and Bette Davis hold the record for most Best Actress Academy Award nominations in a row: Bette Davis 1938-1942 and Greer Garson 1941-1945.
 Bette's Classic Movie Blog 2010 © 

"Starting out to make money is the greatest mistake in life. Do what you feel you have a flair for doing, and if you are good enough at it, the money will come"

Oh, good old Chips. I wish I had a teacher like Robert Donat in Goodbye Mr. Chips. He is so lovely and heartwarming in the role for which he won a best actor Oscar.
The plot is basically this. Mr. Chips (Robert Donat in heavy makeup at this point) at age 83, sits in his armchair and falls into a deep sleep. The rest of the film is a flashback over his 58 years as a teacher. Charles Edward Chipping is an inexperienced teacher, who goes to work in a posh English boy's boarding-school as a Latin teacher. He doesn't make a very good first impression on the boys, when he gives them a detention while they are supposed to be playing cricket, but he soon makes good friends with all of them after making puns and jokes to do with the subjects that they are learning. He becomes what could only be expressed in now-a-days language as a "legend". After going away on a holiday in Austria with good friend and German teacher Max Staefel, (Paul Henried, although I didn't know this until reading about the film on wikipedia) he comes back with the beautiful and intelligent, Kathy (Greer Garson) for a wife. They are loved and adored, and she makes tea for all of his students to make them feel at home. They become like a second set of parents for the lonely boarding-school boys.
When Kathy becomes pregnant, there is rejoicing and mad preparation for the baby everyone has been waiting for for years. But when Kathy and her unborn child die in labour, Chips (as he was nicknamed) is devastated. He, as a teacher declared while Chips was on his death-bed, "is the sort of man that always should have had children", and his moving reply was, "but I have had children! Hundreds and hundreds of them... All boys!"

A true three-hankie classic (as someone once described Dark Victory), Goodbye Mr. Chips is a wonderful film that will continue to be a favourite for as long as we have the means to view films. It has such great performances that even if the other elements of production were so so (which they weren't), the film would still work well.

If you want to go the whole way, and do a Greer Garson film marathon... I am not exactly your person to ask. I have seen 3 of her films, and they were all fantastic.
  1. Mrs. Miniver
  2. Pride And Prejudice
  3. Goodbye Mr. Chips
She also didn't make that many films, so it isn't easy to choose. Ones I have heard of but haven't seen (that are on my to see list) are:
  1. Madam Curie
  2. Julius Ceasar
  3. The Miniver Story (sequel to Mrs. Miniver)
  4. Little Women
~Bette

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Hollywood School Of Double-Takes

We all know that out of all the double takes in movie history, there are the greats and the not-so-greats. Each and every actor has their own double-take style. For example, there is the Cary Grant double-take (one of the best thought out, in my opinion).

But you may go for the more subtle double take, as Bette Davis does in In This Our Life here.
However she was not so subtle here.
Or here.
Or here *yawn*.
 Or here.
But under no curcumstances, ever, ever, ever, go for a double take like Cary Grant's grandmother in An Affair To Remember. But, unfortunatley that double take was soooooo bad, that no one has ever taken a still of it (to my internet browser's knowledge). But it basically goes like this: hmmm-huh?-squint-feeling woozy-about to burst into tears- "Nicolo!!!" Not Good. I have impersonated it many times. Hahahaha. A couple more good double takes follow.
And on a completely unrelated note, aparently there has been some comparison of Robert Redford and Zac Efron, and whilst serching for Robert Redford double-take photos, I found this *shreek!* and *eeek!*
How disturbing is that! A youthful Barbara Striesand cuddling Zac Efron when he was -14 years old. And plus what is with that hair-do? Come on Zac, I like you and all but what the heck is with the racoon that made it's house on your head?

~Bette

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Oh, That Blasted Golden Boy

Oy vay! Willie Holden, why did you do this to me? I swear you have had a nose job. You just look so different in Golden Boy to how you look in Sabrina.

Wow. I am lovin' the dark hair and fresh face. But back to golden boy. This has a wonderful Barbara Stanwyck in it. This makes it my fourth film I have seen of hers, and I really do think she is fantastic.

It is about an Italian-American 21 year old New Yorker named Joe Bonaparte, who has been practicing the violin since he was a very little boy, but he is worried that he wont be able to support himself and a family if he decides to become a musician. He is drawn in by the glamourous and and highly paid world of prize fighting. On the eve of his 21st birthday, his father has a very special surprise for him. A brand new $15,000 dollar violin. But on that night, Joe comes home late after his first proffessional boxing match, and declares to his father that he wants to gie up playing the violin for prize fighting. The violin goes away, untouched. He signs with a manager named Tom Moody, but it ends up being his girl, Lorna, that has the business brains. After lots of predictable to-ings and fro-ings from the violin, he decides that prizefighting is for him. But he finds himself drifting further away from his father and from the girl of his dreams, Lorna. Will boxing support him socially as well as financially?

I really loved this film even though it's not the best film I have seen recently, it is a realistic insight into prize fighting. The performances are very good, and the boxing scene is done very well and it conveys the violence and horror that comes with the glory of winning a fight. William Holden couldn't have asked for a better debut (it was his first credited screen role). He is perfect for the role in my eyes. But the producers didn't think so, and didn't accept him until Barbara intervened and said that she really wanted him to play the role. When they were presenting an academy award together some years later, he stopped the reading of the nominee list to thank her for saving his carreer.

Lee J. Cobb (who played Joe's father) gives a very warm and sensitive performance as the father who is unsure wheather to love Joe whatever he does, or encourage him to take the sensible and creative route. The directing is yet again pretty good. Nothing particularly special, but a very respectable job overall.

On a completely different subject, I can't believe that I now have 15 followers! I never expected any really, I started the blog just as a way of expressing my views on films and learning more about how I write, and more importantly how films are made, and things like that. As an aspiring possible actress/director/anything, it really has helped in many ways. And it gives me lots more enthusiasm to do posts when I see that people like what I am writing, so thanks for all the support you audience!

~Bette

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Name Above The Title

I have just been to see my grandmother in a very Jewish play (I am descended from a long line of showbiz people :D), and she was very fantabiedoobie indeed. The theatre was called "The Palace Theatre" and as we walked in, my mum started singing "I was born in a trunk, at The Palace Theatre," from A Star Is Born. That is how classic-movie orientated my family is. After the performance, we went backstage to congratulate my grandmother, and I feel very honored to have been passed down a very special book. That book is The Name Above The Title by Frank Capra. It was given to her and my grandpa by a professor of film at a college somewhere, and it has that fantastic smell that old books have when they have been loved.
the book

It is a complete autobiography from the very beginning of his life. I am not sure if it is still in print, but it is very interesting. I have only started the first chapter (titled "It's About Time, You Bum!"), but it definitely looks very promising. There are lots of fantastic pictures in it, and I might have to scan them or something soon. It has a quote at the beginning that I really like.

"There are no rules in film making, only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness."

Frank Capra directed films such as It's A Wonderful Life, It Happened One Night, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, and The Philadelphia Story (which is one of those films that I should have seen but haven't). 

Expect a review soonish the book is some 500 pages and the book is almost A4 paper sized, so it may take a while to finish considering I still have to finish Wuthering Heights.

~Bette 

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Books That Were Turned Into Movies

I have a perfectionist view on the way that books are made into movies. The best of them include such titles as Rebecca, Pride And Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, and even All About Eve was adapted from a short story in Cosmopolitan. The not so great ones include, errrr, can't think of any except (people are going to kill me for saying this) the 1944 Jane Eyre. I do love Joan Fontaine, Orson Welles, Margaret O'Brien, and Elizabeth Taylor (who plays Helen Burns) and the film is great until about halfway through, when the plot starts to slow down and everything slowly grounds to a halt. As a person who has read Jane Eyre, I do know what I am talking about and it seems to me that at the last minute, the filming was cancelled before finishing. Because instead of seeing the wedding or anything at the end, they just sit Joan and Orson on a bench with Joan's voice-over saying something like "he got his eyesight again, we got married and had a baby boy. The end".

Most of the adaptations that I have seen I have loved though. Cabaret is very good, and that was adapted from an autobiography. But when I see a book adapted into a film that is very different to what I imagined while reading, I feel very upset. It is like all of those characters in my head being killed off and being replaced with the Hollywood-ized versions that the studios turn out daily. I am never able to read the book again without thinking "hey, that isn't like the film!" or "but so-and-so never did that!". It really ruins the whole experience for me. (The same thing happens when I have seen the film and not the book and then read the book).


Get ready for a did you know... "Did you know," I drawled. Hey that's weird. Why am I talking in third person? Anyway. Did you know that Joan Fontaine was cast as Jane Eyre because she was cast as "The New Mrs. De Winter" in Rebecca and they wanted to shine light on the fact that Rebecca is actually based on Jane Eyre? Well, now you do. You learn something new every day ;-D. Well, I'm off to pack up a sleepover bag that will contain Dark Victory and a huge box of Kleenex.

~Bette

Happy B-Day Mickey And Walter!

Hey, that title looks like it could mean Mickey mouse and Walter Disney *mildly amused laugh*.

Happy birthday to Mickey Rooney and Walter Pidgeon!!! You guys both rock my socks!
Mickey Rooney1920-Present

Walter Pidgeon: 1897-1984

~Bette

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Thats Our Victory, Our Victory Over The Dark!

There's no place like home! I am back after a stay at my friend's house, and we watched Hachi. from Blockbuster's. But only after 45 minutes did we find out how sad it was, and my sister insisted on turning it off. It was really good though. I am totally preoccupied thinking about the vaccine jab I have to have tomorrow morning, and I have film-reviewer block, so the best thing I can offer you today is a review of one of my favourite Bette Davis films.

I have to acknowledge Bette Davis' yet again spectacular performance as the terminally ill society girl in Dark Victory. It is about a society girl/horse rider, Judith Traherne (Bette Davis) who discovers that she is terminally ill with a brain tumour. They operate on her, but she is still "prognosis negative". The doctor, Frederick Steele (George Brent) and her best friend (Geraldine Fitzgerald) decide it would be best not to tell her. Judith falls in love with the doctor and while packing up for him before they move to Vermont, she discovers her file and finds out that she only has a few months to live. She then meets him for dinner very incensed and orders a "big order of prognosis negative". She starts to waste her life away, and only when her sensitive horseman (Humphrey Bogart) knocks some sense into her, does she go back with Dr. Steele. They Marry and agree not to talk about her condition. But one day when he is about to go to very important meeting in New York, her vision starts to go when she says to her best friend "its starting to cloud up. Why, its getting darker every minute! Funny, I can still see the sun on my hands (wretch and sob)". She decides not to tell the doctor so he can still excel at his career, but there is a very moving goodbye speech, because he knows she could die while he is away, starting with "Dahilng, have I been a good wife?" And ending with "I have been more happy this last month than I could have been in a lifetime. That's our victory, our victory over the dark!"

Here is one sentence to sum up this film. By the time Bette is half blind, I am on the verge of deciding to dedicate my life to discovering a cure to brain Tumours. LOVE IT!!!!!

~Bette

Friday, 17 September 2010

A Star Is Born!

Happy birthday Lauren Bacall!!! Her birthday was yesterday and she is 86. That is pretty awsomesauce and snazzy. To be 86 i mean. She must be so wise...


I have to admit that I have only seen one of her movies (The Man With A Horn) but she was married to Bogie, and that puts her way up in my books ;D.  But this post is really about A Star Is Born so I better get back to that.

I watched this film quite a while ago. Maybe about 2 months ago, but I can still remember it very strongly. Its not the kind of film you can forget very easily. The film starts with some sort of Hollywood gala, and the main appearance is supposed to be that of Norman Maine (James Mason), a famous film-star who's carreer is in decline. He apppears on stage while Esther Blodget (Judy Garland) is singing, and he is obviously intoxicated. She turns the awkward situation into a comical but sophisticated entrance for Norman. He thanks her and draws a heart on the backstage wall with her lipstick. He then goes to see her sing The Man That Got Away after hours at a club in Hollywood. He recognises her talent and makes her quit her band and make a carreer in movies. He mentions her name to the studios but on the day she arrives he has been taken to a location for fiming a new "comeback film" and she assumes he was just flirting with her. After a series of unpredictable events, he hears her singing on a TV commercial and the proccess starts all over agian, except this time she gets a job with his studio. The studio changes her name to Vicki Lester, and she makes a big success in a musical where she performs songs such as I Was Born In A Trunk. Norman and Esther marry and live very happily together for a while. But as her carreer soars, his declines even more. Can their mariage survive?

*Weep weep* Even as I *blow nose* watch I Was Born In A Trunk, I remember everything *sob* that happens and I just can't bear it!!!!! I dont want to spoil the story for you all, but after half-way through the film, every time James Mason walks into view I sob. Judy's performance is just beyond words. She is so sensitive, and in some scenes it is like it's her story that she is acting, not Esther Blodgett's. The direction is that of George Cukor of Gaslight, Gone With The Wind, and The Philidelphia Story, and it is pretty fantabiedoobie directing. Just to let you know, that I will know if someone is worthy of being my friend, if they draw a heart on a wall with MY lipsick! That is a pretty cool thing to do. Almost as cool as Paul Henried lighting 2 cigarettes in Now Voyager.

Judy in Meet Me In St. Louis
I wanted to tell you that there will be no more posts until Tuesday/Wednesday (this is supposed to be the bit where you are all sobbing at your computers) because I am staying at a friend's house because my parents are going away for a few days on Sunday.

~Bette

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

"This apartment is rated PG, I keep forgetting."

I just wanted to tell all you readers out there, that it is such a comfort to come home and blog to you at the end of a long day. I say this because in my science lesson today, I had nothing short of a nervous breakdown over "grouping elements". I mumbled to myself "good times, good times" until my science teacher (who happens to have an evil glare) came up to me and said "what's wrong Bette?" I replied "Umm nothing, just errr, grouping my elements (cheesy smile)". As soon as he left I collapsed on the table and banged again and again ranting about how we all have clogged up brains, and why couldn't we accept the world for what it is without knowing everything. I then went on complaining about how my head is swimming with Bette Davis' affair with Mirriam Hopkin's husband, how Mirriam played Jezebel on Broadway, the hideous book that BD Davis wrote about Bette, and... French verbs! This is because I watched Bette Davis: An Intimate Portrait AND did a lot of French home-work just before sleeping last night (this was also not helped by the fact that I was really into Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? when I realized that youtube only had 45 minutes of it). My remarks were mostly like "oh why did Judy Garland have to die alone" and "now I am all confused. Is Mirriam put into the soft and silvery column, or the alkaline metal category?" Plus, the people on my table were not only NOT classic-film-knowers, but didn't care about my mild breakdown or my philosophical comments. Their comments were mainly:

FRIEND 1: "Oh come on you're jiggling the science cards!"
and
FRIEND 2: "Who is Mirrian Cotchkins?"

Lovin' the sunnies Barbara!
I digress. Have you noticed that lots of old films are rated way lower than what they should be? I mean, Double Indemnity (1940s) a PG? It is about a woman who... MURDERS HER HUSBAND!!! And another film with a similar plot is The Letter (also 1940s) which is a U. I think that just because they are in black and white, they are not rated properly and furthermore, I think it has something to do with gender inequality. (Bit of a rant coming up...) if a man did what Bette Davis did in The Letter, I am sure it would be rated for an older age group. And plus, they think that because there is more talk than actual violence people won't notice that Barbara asks her boyfriend to strangle her husband and dump his body on a train track!

So, there is my little rant! On a lighter note, look at this adorable pic of Doris Day and James Stewart on set for The Man Who Knew Too Much. She gives a spellbinding performance as the mother of a kidnapped boy which really is quite wonderful. She gives a similarly good performance in Love Me Or Leave Me. Don't let anyone tell you she is just all froth! The song Que Sera, Sera was written for the film, and it later became her trademark song.
Soo gorgeous ;-D
Quote from the title The Goodbye Girl (1977)
~Bette

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The Little Foxes

Just a few hours ago I was about to look on YouTube to find some interesting videos to spend the afternoon watching, interviews of classic movie stars and the like. It suddenly occurred to me that I could search "The Little Foxes" just to see what came up, and just as if it was put there for me personally, there was the entire film in neat ten and a half minute parts. I had been wanting to see this for ages, but on amazon it costs about £12 rather than the usual £3 for an old movie, and I thought I would just have to wait until Christmas. Well, even if I had had to wait until Christmas it would have been well worth the wait.

I'm not about to explain the whole complicated plot, but the basic storyline is this. Regina Giddens (Bette Davis at her most evil) tricks everyone into giving her what she wants. Even her husband (Herbert Marshal), who is in hospital with severe heart trouble, gives her whatever she asks for. When her brothers start to form a plan to partner up with a cotton manufacturer to make a mill near the cotton fields in their neighbourhood, she jumps at the opportunity to "make it big". She plans to force her husband into making the decision, but her plans take a turn for the worse when her suffering husband refuses to invest. Alongside this is the fact that her daughter (Teresa Wright, Mrs. Miniver) is turning out to be the complete opposite of her vindictive mother.

Wow. This is a pretty fantabiedoobie film. I didn't expect it to be so well put together, and the script by Lillian Hellman is great. She wrote the stage version that was a vehicle for Tallulah Bankhead, who hated Bette Davis because she was more successful in her roles when they were turned into films than she was in the plays (she played Judith Traherne in Dark Victory on stage), but more on that in another post. I thought the costumes were fabulous (even if Bette thought they should have been less fancy considering that the Giddens family was suffering financially), they were all very intricate and the costume in one crucial scene for Bette Davis conveys the conniving, calculating hideous thing that she does extremely well. When I remember that scene I remember her face and the stiff dress she wears best.

~Bette

My Brand New Discovery!

Well, this is embarrassing! I have to say, until yesterday I have never actually searched Tumblr for photos. And yesterday evening I went kind of demented on it, downloading every cool Bette Davis, James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, and Audrey Hepburn photo I could find! So here are a few of my favourites.
Bette Davis after accepting her Academy Award for Jezebel
Ingrid Bergman and Alfred Hitchcock on the set for Spellbound
Audrey Hepburn being... Audrey Hepburn!

Joan Blondell and Bette Davis
James Stewart reading LIFE
Bette Davis eating ice cream
Bette Davis serving at the Hollywood Canteen

I have loads more (including a picture of Bette and her 4th husband Gary Merrill playing scrabble in a car looking very bitter) but I can't put them all here! I am thinking of sorting out some place for them somewhere on my blog, but that may take quite a while. I also found a video of Bette Davis singing "They're Either Too Young Or Too Old" which is now my favourite music video. Be warned, it has some pretty bad rhymes like "there isn't any gravy, the gravy's in the navy," and "I simply can't compel it to, with no marines to tell it to." But it is Bette Davis singing, so you have to make allowances. Yesterday I was thinking about what old movie treasures I could ask for for Christmas (which my family absolutely obsesses over, once my mum put Frank Sinatra's Christmas album on in September), and all I could think of, other than movies, was The Lonely Life by Bette Davis. I told my Mum this morning, and her reaction was "Can you even get it?" I replied "Umm, I'm sure I saw it on amazon once..." so good luck with that Mum!

~Bette (Wow, so many Bettes in this post!)

Friday, 10 September 2010

Deception, Struggling Cellists, And Sadistic Composers... What More Could You Want?

I love Deception. It has everything a film noir needs: classic dark shots, the creepy world of classical music in the background, direction from the man who directed Now Voyager, and of course a cast including greats such as Bette Davis and Paul Henried.

The film starts with Christine Radcliffe (Bette Davis) running up the stairs of a college concert hall in New York in the rain. She slips into the auditorium, and her eyes fill with tears as she recognises the cellist on centre stage. He is Karol Novak (Paul Henried), her past love that has been trapped in neutral sweden for the duration of WWII. When he comes out of the hall, he is bombarded with questions by college news paper reporters, and one asks him who his favourite composers are. He answers with a list of famous composers and ends with "And of course Hollenius." While he is sitting in his dressing room, he spots Christine outside his door and their eyes meet in the mirror, they run towards each other and embrace as Christine says "I thought you where dead! I saw them kill you," (of course this is said with much emotion and Bette Davis crying). She takes him back to her apartment, and on the way she explains to him how she hasn't been doing very well financially since she moved to New York, but the decor and furniture in her so called "apartment" (more like large penthouse) suggest otherwise.

They get married almost instantly, but their wedding is disturbed by a dramatic entrance by Alex Hollenius (Claude Rains) and it is obvious that he is very jealous. Thereafter he pretty much succeeds in ruining their marraige (Christine's lies do nothing to help the situation either) unil finally, PLOT SPOILER Christine shoots him to make sure Karol never finds out about her lies and her liason with Alex while he was trapped in Sweden.

Bette and John Abbot having a smoke during a break.
This film is one of those film noirs that never get boring no matter how many times you watch it. Yesterday was I think my 5th time watching it and I still love it. The dubbing of Bette Davis' piano playing and Paul Henried cello playing is very good, and the Hollenius cello concerto written for the film was very good too. I tried to convince my friend (my only other Bette Davis club member) to take up the cello again by saying "Oh come on! Paul had Bette crying in the audience! And his slick quiff was all falling apart in a very umm, awsomesauce way," needless to say her answer was a flat "Bette, do I really want to look like Paul Henried? If you hadn't noticed; I am a girl. And why would I have a quiff anyway?" Well, my cello talent scouting dreams are crushed. But hey, who needs to scout for cello players when they can scout for sadistic composers instead? Hmmmmm, now where to find sadistic composers... I digress. Any readers out there who are looking for a new film to watch, or you have it on your shelf but haven't seen it yet, do watch it!

Here is a link to the trailer on YouTube

~Bette

P.S. I got deception in a Bette box set which came with: The Old Maid, All This And Heaven Too, Watch On The Rhine (haven't seen that yet though), Deception, In This Our Life, and The Great Lie. I also have another one of her box sets. Search into amazon "Bette Davis Collection Vol. 3" for the one I listed, and "The Bette Davis Collection" for the other one. So I'm not sure if you can get Deception on its own.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

So Kiss Me Kate!

Well, I am now home after a grade 5 piano/aural lesson. After playing my grade five pieces and struggling through a page of echo singing (listening to a piece and then singing it, eeeek!), My teacher told me that in the exam a small section of a piece would be played, and I would have to describe things about it. She then proceeded to ask me if I knew all of my composers and periods of music; I have to say that most of my knowledge came from Mary Astor's dramatic outbursts of Rachmaninov in The Great Lie.

My sister, (who is eight, and her third favourite film is All About Eve) happens to be extremely hilarious, but right now she has pretty bad mouth ulcers so all she wanted to do was snuggle down with me and watch Kiss Me Kate for the zillionth time. Me being the understanding sister that I am, (plus the fact that I "lurve" Kiss Me Kate) replied something vaguely like "Of course dahling". So with us both sitting on the kitchen sofa, we watched one and a half hours of Anne Miller, Howard Keel, and Cole Porter Songs.

It is a pretty fab musical. And it features a young Bob Fosse who, unfortunately didn't choreograph it, but does steal the show from his other supporting male actors. It is about a broadway musical that is based on The Taming Of The Shrew by William Shakespeare, and has an amazing balance of on-stage songs and back-stage ones, such as Brush Up Your Shakespeare, which has great lyrics like "If your blond won't respond when ya' flatter her, tell her what Tony told Cleopaterer." I would strongly recomend this to all readers, it really brightens your day (and no, its not just because its filmed in early eye popping colour). It was origianally filmed in 3D, and my honorary uncles were lucky enough to see a 3D screening of it. Try to spot the 3D bits in the movie if you see it. Its not hard, they are pretty obvious ;-D.

~Bette

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Ultimate Femme Fatale.

Here is the definition of femme fatale from wikipedia.

"A femme fatale is an alluring and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. She is an archetypal character of literature and art."

Well, that just screams Phyllis Dietrichson from Double Indemnity. But I wonder if you have ever realized that one of the most unlikely femme fatales is Eve Harrington in All About Eve (if you haven't seen it, then you may want to read a plot summary here). So ok, maybe she doesn't lead Loyd or Bill into deadly situations, but she certainly does end up making a pretty big mess of things for everyone around her, and ends up trying to seduce almost every male actor in the cast (except George Sanders, but why would anyone want to seduce him anyway?). Just take a look at those creepy eyes of hers.

Yesterday I watched Gilda, in which Rita Hayworth plays the gorgeous wife of an evil genious. She seems to be a character spiralling completely out of control, while causing destruction to all the men surrounding her. Some people may call that a femme fatal by definition, but I find the more subtle ones more interesting to watch sometimes. As soon as Rita walks into view as the gamourous Gilda, it is completely obvious that she means trouble. But when Barbara Stanwyck apears on the balcony of her Hollywood mansion in Double Indemnity, you wonder, even if just for a minute, if she really does want extra insurance for her husband. 
Well I think it is time for another one of my crazy lists!

Top 5 Femme Fatales
1. Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity (man, that's a killer to spell ;-D)
2. Eve Harrington in All About Eve
3. Gilda in... Gilda!
4. Rebecca in Rebecca(even though we never see her in the film)
5. The Bette (Bette Davis) in The Letter, she is just so cold and calculating. Mwa hahahaha! 

Who is your top femme fatale?

~Bette

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Now I Know What's The Trouble With Harry.

(WARNING all Trouble With Harry fans, this is a very negative review of a movie made by the world's best thriller director, who obviously does not know how to do black comedy.)

For one thing, Harry does not seem to be noticed properly until about halfway through the film. Until then he is just lying on a forest path being tripped over.
And here is Harry.
And for some reason Shirley MacLaine (Harry being her estranged husband) seems not to care at all that her husband is dead. In fact, it is her little boy who discovers the body but strangely doesn't recognise him! I know everyone has to make a bad movie, and Hitchcock, your's certainly was a doozie. So after 45 minutes of my idea of hell I decided to put on Mrs Minniver, Directed by William Wyler (who is by the way, topping my favourite directors list at the moment), and spent the rest of the evening crying my eyes out for Greer Garson.


Cast:
Plot: 
Mr. and Mrs. Miniver and their family live in a large house on the outskirts of London. They have a big garden and a private docking area on the river Thames. When their older son, Vin, comes home from Oxford where he has been studying, he falls in love with Carol Beldon, the grand-daughter of one of the most wealthy and influential women in the comunity. But when World War II starts, Vin joins the airforce and Mr. Minniver is part of a sort of home guard. Mrs. Minniver finds herself fighting in her own way at home to save not only her house and village which are rapidly being destroyed by bombs, but her family too.

The Review:
When I came into the room where we were watching it, my mum said "Bette, guess who directed this," I couldn't guess so my mum told me. "William Wyler," Well that was enough to glue me to my seat for a considerable amount of time, and that was before I had even seen Greer Garson as Mrs. Miniver. I spent the evening crying for her, her son, her husband and everyone. I didn't even notice the fact that the house looked like a Hollywood mansion rather than an English country-house. It was definitely a very moving film that has a big impact on you.

Awards

It was the Winner of 6 Academy Awards.
Award Won Result Notes
Outstanding Motion Picture Won Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Winner was Sidney Franklin, the film's producer
Best Director Won William Wyler
Best Actor Nominated Walter Pidgeon Winner was James Cagney for Yankee Doodle Dandy
Best Actress Won Greer Garson
Best Writing, Screenplay Won George Froeschel, James Hilton, Claudine West, Arthur Wimperis
Best Supporting Actor Nominated Henry Travers Winner was Van Heflin for Johnny Eager
Best Supporting Actress Won Teresa Wright
Best Supporting Actress Nominated May Whitty Winner was Teresa Wright for Mrs. Miniver
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White Won Joseph Ruttenberg
Best Effects, Special Effects Nominated A. Arnold Gillespie (photographic)
Warren Newcombe (photographic)
Douglas Shearer (sound)
Winner was Gordon Jennings, Farciot Edouart, William L. Pereira, Louis Mesenkop for Reap the Wild Wind
Best Film Editing Nominated Harold F. Kress Winner was Daniel Mandell for The Pride of the Yankees
Best Sound, Recording Nominated Douglas Shearer Winner was Nathan Levinson for Yankee Doodle Dandy
~Bette

Friday, 3 September 2010

Back At School And Eager To Blog!

Just before I post this, I wanted to just ask you to remember Cammie King Conlon's brilliant performance in Gone with The Wind as Bonnie, because she died today. You can read an article about it here.

Ok, so today I am going to watch The Trouble With Harry, which I am very much looking forward to seeing, because many people say that it is actually quite a change of pace from things like Rear Window, and of course it has my beloved Shirley MacLaine in it.
She is so cute... and that haircut!
So hopefully *Crossed Fingers* I will get around to reviewing that before too long. But, I wanted to ask you, have you seen Indescreet with Ingrid Bergman and Cary grant (In thier first screen pairing since Notorious in 1946) in it? It is one of thier lesser know ones. I saw it the other day, and while it is not my favourite Ingrid or Cary movie, it is very sweet and entertaining. The plot consists mainly of a comic love story about the romance of an aging theatre star (Ingrid Bergman) and a single man who pretends to be married so he does not get tied down to anyone (Cary Grant).

Now that I am back at school, I won't be able to post as much, but I will watching movies lots. I was thrilled when my English teacher told me this morning to "Watch as many films as you can when you get home," that for me is like a teacher asking you to eat sweets for homework!

Well, I'm off to watch The Trouble With Harry. Have a nice weekend all you readers, and if you know what you have planned to watch this weekend, please feel free to post it in a comment!

~Bette